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Cory Arcarese

I find it odd that the hardest article to start writing is the one about Latina-owned businesses —the one about my own Raza. 

When I think about how long I have been a business owner myself, it stuns me. Until recently when I took a full-time job at Colorado Enterprise Fund, I was a solopreneur helping others start their own businesses. I took personal pride in watching them grow and get through the hard pain points of the early years of business. As a lender, I still get to do that — only this time, I help provide capital. 

According to an article published in the March 16, 2021 edition of Forbes magazine, In 2019, Latina entrepreneurs owned 2.3 million businesses and generated $119 billion in revenue. While the Latina market is a clear growth driver for all businesses in the U.S., the average size of Latina-owned businesses is lower than most cohorts at $50,900 in annual revenue. If these businesses generated the same revenue in parity with white-women-owned businesses, Latina-owned businesses would generate an additional $393 billion in revenue per year. We have a LONG way to go, hermanas!

Our white sisters are making $393 BILLION more than we are in business! Do they know more? Do they work harder? What is it? Do they have better business models? Let me offer some insight for Latina owned businesses to pay attention to:

Grow your network — find people who will believe what you believe. There are others who will help you amplify your message and get the word out about what you do. Don’t keep it to yourself! Networking is a powerful tool ‚ if you use it!

Gain access to capital — access to money is what you need: loans, investors, get your business MOVING FORWARD. Posting what you want on social media isn’t going to move you forward. It  takes solid, well planned projections. How will the money be used and for what purposes? Take classes and continue to learn so that you are able to speak in the same terminology the bankers use. There are programs that will assist with this so you can be loan ready. 

Follow safety protocols — COVID 19 hit our community the hardest, don’t walk around talking about not believing in the vaccine, not believing in masks. If you want your business to work, follow the rules. Period. Science is on your side.

Support other Latina-owned businesses — my friend Cecilia Harry, chief economic development officer at the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce & EDC said recently, “As women we must ALL help one another.” Upholding one another is the key to getting ahead. There is revenue being left on the table. Referrals work to grow business. Bring others along.

For those looking to reach the Hispanic market, some ideas:

Make sure Latina women sit on your for-profit and nonprofit boards. Diversity is great for growing your organization. 

Remember that Latinas are the primary purchasers of goods and services in their home.

There is no reason for Latina owned businesses to lag so far behind the national averages in revenue generation. Let’s all do our part to change this statistic. 

Cory Arcarese works at the Colorado Enterprise Fund.